Bruneians studying in the US up by 23%
THE number of Bruneians studying in colleges and universities in the United States of America increased by 23 per cent in 2014/2015 compared to the period between 2013/2014, according to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.
Public Affairs Officer from the US Embassy in Brunei Dr Edward Findlay told The Brunei Times recently that the latest annual report released in November last year listed 73 Bruneians studying at colleges and universities, up from 60 from the previous report.
Findlay said the flexibility of American undergraduate degrees, a wide range of universities and states to choose from and cosmopolitan culture were the biggest draws.
“The number of universities and courses that you can choose from in the US is huge, combined with the different experiences you can get from the different states gives potential students a huge range of higher education options that few others can,” said Findlay on the sidelines of a charity run held at Sayydina Ali Secondary School last weekend.
“For undergraduates, you don't have to choose what you will major or specialise in during the first year, so you can explore and see what's available to you before deciding what's best for you by the second year.”
According to the Open Doors Report, which measures student traffic in US colleges and universities exclusively, the number of Bruneians studying in the US has gradually risen past ten years, beginning with just 12 Bruneian students in 2005 to 2006.
Bruneians seeking education overseas and outside Southeast Asia have traditionally favoured universities in the United Kingdom over those in the US, partly due to a more synced secondary education system.
Findlay said exposure to the United States education system has also been aided by several programmes and fellowships offered by the US government to the Southeast Asian region, including Brunei. These include the Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Programme (SEAYLP) targeted for secondary students, and the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative for older youth which is separated into professional and academic programmes.
“Certainly Bruneians who are selected for these programmes either spend time or visit US higher learning institutions, so they would be in a good position to decide if they like the environment, teaching and facilities,” he said. He added that selection for this year's SEAYLP participants has begun, with the Ministry of Education and the US embassy working together to identify which five students will join the programme.
The Brunei Times